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BPM API Delivers Quality and Traceability

BPM API Delivers Quality and Traceability

API (Application Programming Interface) is software that connects two or more applications and allows them to “talk” to each other. The main advantage is automating tasks– picture the future world of the movie WALL-E (perhaps that’s extreme). API optimizes human interactions to tasks only humans need to do. API can provide real-time control and communication between various applications and allow workers to focus on higher-value activities.

API of your Dreams

Practically anything you can dream up can be implemented with an API. It all starts with a brainstorming session where you bring together the different stakeholders for programmable projects, especially the front-line teams tasked with the day-to-day work. Ask them what’s working and what’s not. When you begin to identify things that can be improved, ask “what if” questions, such as, “what if there was a way to automate that?” As you break down the steps, especially those which are labor-intensive and prone to human error, you can begin to map out a better process. Try not to put the project management hat on just yet– that comes next.

API for Automated Work Order

Our previous API case study did a deep dive on an Automated Work Order for a large automotive contract manufacturer in Europe. The API functions as an automated work order to integrate their BPM Automated Programming Systems with their MRP system. It creates an electronic work order, operator checklist, and does finished goods allocation. To read more…

Once you have identified the pain points of your production or reporting process, you can begin to identify the “low hanging fruit” that can be implemented right away. Next comes mapping out what specific features you would like to see, and rate them by what would be the game changers and the things that would be nice, but not critical. Now you have the information a developer needs to begin the process of building out an API. Once the Developer has outlined the scope of work, you can decide how you will move forward based on their estimates for cost and timeframe.

Production Programming Advantages

BPM programming equipment, with the activation of BPWin API, has the capability to interface with your enterprise software in a maintainable and standard interface. BPWin API allows users to solve simple to complex process problems during the programming cycle. Designed specifically for BPM Automated Programmers, the API automation object model gives you the ability to utilize any programming language for interface to BPWin software. BPWin API is a breakthrough in programming equipment connectivity, that digitizes the information being generated throughout your device programming operations, and makes it available where, when, and how you need it.

Control and Monitoring API

BPWIN Application Programming InterfaceThe BPM API includes two major modules: Control and Monitoring. Control API (CJobControl Object) allows the external programs to control JobMaster related functions in BPWin software.

BPM API allows you to configure the programming cycle with commands such as select the device, load the data pattern file, set device options, start or stop the programming cycle, and more. Monitoring API (CJobMonitor Object) allows for programmer system status to be exported in real-time for monitoring through verification, auditing, and logging of data from within BPWin software.

This article focuses on two main issues: Quality and Traceability.


Quality possesses the concept of excellence, both in duration and in comparison. If something has quality, it will last longer, remain consistent, and possibly requires less maintenance. Statistical process control (SPC) utilizes statistical methods to monitor a process. By analyzing trends and anomalies, organizations can implement changes to improve the overall quality and process. Captured log file information can yield parts of a process that can be improved, or uncover hidden waste in trend analysis. SPC, when properly set up and utilized, takes a good process and makes it great (higher quality, more profitable).

Quality control starts with removing (as much as possible) the “human” error element. In a real-world use case, Control API steps the operator through a “checklist” to ensure the finished product is of the highest quality. An example of a manufacturing process flow:

  • Receive Job Sheet. The sheet contains required fields in a barcode format.
  • Barcode Job. This contains a link to the .abp file (BPM’s proprietary job file format which also contains the APS workflow instructions) stored on the customer’s server, to load the .bp file (specific to the job) and program file, set the device type, and device configuration stored within.
  • Barcode Pressure Plate. Scan the barcode for the correct Pressure Plate for the sockets.
  • Barcode Parts. Scan the received parts to ensure they match the job.
  • Barcode Quantity. Scan the correct batch quantity that is to be programmed.
  • Verify Setup. The final screen before programming, the Verify Screen ensures everything is set up correctly: Verify the socket modules, check devices, and pressure plates match those specified; check the quantity is correct. On-screen field highlighting of failed fields is used to assist.
  • Start Programming. When the verification passes, the job can start.

This electronic “checklist” virtually eliminates mistakes. If an incorrect barcode is received, the system returns an error message that allows the error to be quickly corrected.

One Process/Many Locations

Control API can also be used to make changes to the BPWin JobMaster files from even thousands of miles away without operator involvement. This is a huge improvement for facilities with multiple locations; corrections and improvements are pushed out from a single location, ensuring the same manufacturing process worldwide. Sharing jobs easily with other locations/machines/work centers/3rd party programming centers provides consistent, reliable finished products.


At its root, BPM’s API allows tracking devices from raw goods to finished goods. By utilizing barcodes and readers, job work orders can be used to update ERP/MES systems in real-time. Alerts can be set up to bypass finished inventory locations to the production line for just-in-time manufacturing. This supports higher inventory turns, making the whole process faster without sacrificing quality, which is ideal for lean manufacturing. How much more productive (and profitable) would you be by eliminating non-value-added steps?

Traceability through Product Life

In the unfortunate event of a manufacturing “Chernobyl” (such as a recall), as much information as possible is vital to move forward quickly. Most automotive OEMs require laser marking to identify at least a minimum of identifying data, such as lot and date. It’s possible (depending on the size of the device) to tag version, factory location, even individual serial number, and which machine produced the part. Armed with this “DNA” information, you can quickly begin the forensic investigation to 1. Determine the root cause, and, 2. Implement corrective action, and, 3. Prevent it from ever happening again. Traceability is essential to the quality and continuous improvement.

Track to the Part-level

Marking devices with a laser marker takes traceability to a whole new level. Depending on the size of the device, anything from lot numbers to QR codes can be put on a finished programmed device. Each device can be marked with an individual serial number, or if that is overkill, a lot number. When you have multiple programmers, each machine can be identified– down to the part/shift/date. If there is ever an issue, you’ll have a record that can easily be accessed.

Similarly, you have the ability to access remote serialization protocols, beyond what is built into the BPM software. When the device is marked with a laser, there are no concerns with smudging or scratching; it will never fall off as a label might.

Media Tracking

Label printers can be used for finished media (tape/tray) with barcodes and human-readable information. This makes inventory control of blank and programmed devices easy, as parts move from raw goods to value-added programmed devices, and finally to consumption in the finished assembly.

In Conclusion

The goal of this article is to give you a taste of what is possible with BPM’s API. If you are new to device programming, you may be interested in a work order set-up, or at the very least, notifications and feedback. If you’ve been utilizing device programming, you may have identified some functionality that you wish existed, or perhaps a process that is overly repetitive or requires employee interaction. Once you’ve identified the process, BPM can assist you in developing an API, or provide your developers with the framework to write it yourself. For more information, please contact our team of Customer Service and Technical Support experts.

Run an ROI Calculator to Determine Feasibility of Automated Programmer Purchase

Run an ROI Calculator to Determine Feasibility of Automated Programmer Purchase

Run an ROI Calculator to Determine Feasibility of Automated Programmer Purchase

Request ROI Analysis

Provide us with a device list, with approximate programming data upload, and the number of devices needed per month, and we’ll provide you with an ROI Analysis.

Example Calculation

In this real-world example, we’ll break down the numbers to bring device programming in-house:

Total Devices per Year to program 1,000,000
Average Lot Size (Quantity of devices per Job) 1,000
Factory Burdened Hourly Labor Rate (Direct labor + Overhead) $15
Estimated APS Solution Price $89,999
Capital Equipment Amortization 5
Machine Utilization Rate 85%
Estimated Consumable cost per device (sockets, carrier tape, cover tape) $0.01
Expected Machine Throughput 1088
Programming Cost per Device (if outsourced or other programming process) $0.15
Estimated Job Chageover Hours 333
Production Hours Required 1415
Equipment Operation Cost per Year $39,220
Estimated Cost per Device to program $0.0492
System Payback Calculation  
Devices Programmed per Day (250 days per year) 4000
Savings per Device $0.10
Savings per Day $403.12
Work Days until System Purchase Payback 223.3

*BPM can help you with some of these numbers. If you provide us with a device list, how much data is to be programmed, and how many devices you need per month, we can give you a minimum configuration of a recommended system. Changeover hours are determined by how many changeovers per shift.

Payback in a few months

In the example above, it would take a few months (not years) to make device programming in-house a profit center! Once paid for, it’s almost all profit. Many customers use these systems for 10+ years and achieve 5-10X ROI.

Run an ROI Calculator to Determine Feasibility of Automated Programmer Purchase

How to Program In-House, Part II

How to Program In-House, Part II

Previously, we discussed how to use Device Search and Device Request. In this article, first, we’ll cover Benchmarking to determine which system you need to program in-house. Next, we’ll do a capacity analysis. Finally, we’ll do a real-world ROI (return on investment) calculation (hint: Device programming in-house starts making money in weeks, not years).

Example of Programming In-House

In reviewing our example, we’ve got two programmable devices on our board: a TSOP and a QFP programmable device. The TSOP has 1200 Kilobytes of data; the QFP has 1 Gigabyte (which makes in-line or on-board programming a bad option).

6 Ways to Program Devices (and Why Off-Line Programming may be an option)

Our initial device search revealed one of the devices is supported (the QFP), but the other is not (the TSOP). If we’re early in the process, it’s possible to find a similar device that is supported. If not, you can always request support for the device. Depending on the complexity (is it in a “family” of devices that have support, does it require a custom socket, etc.) BPM will provide a support proposal with cost and lead time.

Device Semi House Code Socket Qty/Year File Size Bench-mark
QFP Renesas


FVE4ASMR48LQFPG 1,200,000 1 GB ?
TSOP Renesas HN58VXXXX Custom Dev 1,200,000 1 MB ?

Now that we have an idea of support, the next step is to determine which system is the best fit.

APS Rule of Thumb

A good rule of thumb regarding when a programming project is a good candidate for Automated Programming is if quantities are in excess of 50,000 parts per year (there are some other things that could factor in, such as laser marking, 3D inspection, etc.). In our example, we will need 2.4 million devices per year, so that makes Automated Programming an easy choice.


Benchmarking is what determines how the system is configured. Typically, the longer the programming times, the more sites needed. You start with the number of programmed devices needed (in our example it’s about 3 million per year). BPM can provide the programming time for the device. After that, it’s just math…

Device Device SKU Socket Qty/Year File Size Benchmark Recommended Sites/Sockets
QFP R5F100GXXX FVE4ASMR48LQFPG 1.2 mil 1 GB 150 seconds ?
TSOP HN58VXXXX Custom Dev 1.2 mil 1 MB 24 seconds ?

The QFP socket is a four-up (each site can program 4 devices concurrently) but has a long programming time (150 seconds in our example). BPM utilizes concurrent programming, so it can load fast and start programming as soon as the site is filled. Each site can program approximately 96 devices per hour ( 4 sockets per site x 3600 seconds / 150).

in addition, the 3928 Automated Programmer can be configured with up to 7 programming sites with up to 28 sockets.

For instance, if we max out the 3928 Automated Programmer (7 sites, 28 sockets) we can get approximately 650 Devices Per Hour (DPH), or approximately 4550 per shift (650 x 7 hours). Dividing that out into the total quantity of devices needed, we would need 1846 hours for just that one device.

Don’t forget, we have another device we need to program as well. The benchmark is 24 seconds; we can get by with just 3 sites (12 sockets) which will yield approximately 1200 devices per hour. The TSOP device requires about 1000 hours to produce.

  • Total Volume per year: 2,400,000
  • Theoretical Machine Hours Required: 2,846
  • Utilization Rate: 85%
  • Estimated Machine Hours Required: 3348
  • Changeover Hours per year: 88.4
  • Total Shift Hours Required: 3437
  • Shift Hours Available per year*: 3640
  • Equipment Shift Capacity: 94%

*2 Shifts per day

Above all, BPM Automated Programmers are built to run 3 shifts at a utilization rate of 85% (conservatively). The 2-shift scenario is tight (94% utilization rate) but doable. You can instantly add a third more capacity by adding a third shift or authorize some overtime to make up any shorts.

Device Device SKU Socket Qty/Year File Size Benchmark Recommended Sites/Sockets
QFP R5F100GXXX FVE4ASMR48LQFPG 1.2 mil 1 GB 150 seconds 7 sites (28 sockets)
TSOP HN58VXXXX Custom Dev 1.2 mil 1 MB 24 seconds 3 sites (12 sockets)

In developing the system configuration, your line needs the devices on a tape/reel, so you’ll need a tape-out peripheral.

Total system:

  • 3928 with 7 sites
  • TM-50 Tape Out
  • Tape Input (2 sizes)
  • 28 FX4ASMR100QFPZR Sockets
  • 12 New Dev Sockets for TSOP HN58VXXXX
  • Full spares kit (includes spare site)

Pays for itself

To determine the total cost, please contact us. You would also need to factor in replacements for sockets (regular sockets are rated for approximately 5-10K total insertions; many of our sockets modules include a receptacle that allows you to replace the consumable socket as required on the board).

ROI Calculator

In this real-world example, we’ll break down the numbers to bring device programming in-house:

Shift Hours per Day 16
Theoretical Machine Hours Required 2,846
Machine Utilization Rate 85%
Changeover Hours 88
Estimated Total Burdened Hours Required 3,436
Years Amortized 5
Burdened Labor Rate $15.00
Cost per Device (Outsourced) $0.25
Total Solution Price $225,000
Devices per year 2,400,000
Estimated Devices per hour 698
Total cost per year $96,540
Estimated Consumable Cost Per Device $0.015
Cost per device = Equipment, Overhead + Consumables $0.055
Cost Per 1000 $55.23
Cost per 1,000,000 $55,225
Total Solution Price $225,000
Device per day (260 days/yr) 9,231
Savings per device $0.195
Savings per day $1,797.92
Days to payback 125.1

Payback in About 4 Months

Therefore, it would take a little under 18 weeks (not years) to make device programming in-house a profit center! Once paid for, it’s almost all profit. Many customers use these systems for 10+ years and achieve 5-10X ROI.

We can help!

In conclusion, we provide an ROI Calculation based on your configuration. Depending on your requirements, you can start producing positive ROI in months, not years. Contact us for a Business Review.

Some variables to factor in:

  • Security of not having your Intellectual Property possibly compromised
  • Speed of making updates
  • Reduced time-to-market
  • Quality Control
  • Faster, reduced inventory turns
  • Just-in-time productions supplies what the line needs today
  • Ability to adjust production by adding shifts and/or outsourcing
  • Faster, more accurate set-ups on BPM automated equipment (see WhisperTeach™);
  • See article on OEE here.


Learn more about BPM Microsystem's Automated Programming Systems Deliver ROI

Disaster Recovery for a Modern Manufacturing Operation

Disaster Recovery for a Modern Manufacturing Operation

Some things to consider in a Disaster Plan

See Disaster Recovery Article

  • Hardware/Software contracts are up-to-date
    • Ensures the fastest response in line-down situations
    • Spares are on-site and/or available overnight
  • Schedule deliveries for consumables, especially sockets
    • Sockets are consumable items
    • The schedule ensures they are manufactured/delivered based on your requirements
    • Lead time to build a socket can vary, from days to weeks
  • Multiple prequalified vendors
  • Pre-qualify First Articles ahead of time from your partner supplier
  • Negotiate price per device before the disaster takes place

Some problems are good. It’s important for the modern manufacturing operation to prepare for the worst, and the best. There are lots of things that can go wrong. Add this to the list: what happens if one or more people on your line come down with Covid-19? You still have parts to program and production lines to supply. And as things rebound, what will you do if you are hit with an increase in orders? You (no doubt) have built-in capacity; but what if it doubles, or triples (or more)? BPM Microsystems builds systems and accessories that make it easy and cost-effective to make device programming a viable (and profitable) option in-house. Their line of programmers is universal, meaning they utilize the same software and accessories, from the smallest to the largest systems. From the first article (the initial first approved programmed device) to production, the only difference is throughput. Manual systems are perfect for starting out and/or smaller lot sizes (up to 50,000 parts per year). They also come in handy to augment the automated system’s capacity, or for programming short-run parts. BPM’s automated systems are the fastest and easiest to set-up of any programming systems. They are made for programming large data devices, such as eMMC HS400, NAND, NOR, and Serial Flash devices, and other nonvolatile memory devices such as MCUs, PLDs, and FPGAs. High-speed signals support devices up to 200 Mhz and the latest eMMC HS400 modes with data transfer rates of 2.5 nanoseconds per byte. With data transfer rates to 50 Gb per second, and verify rates up to 200 MB per second, BPM’s Automated Systems offer the industry’s fastest times. This is up to 9 times faster than competing “universal” programmers, offering the Largest Memory Support in the industry―256 GB, upgradeable to 512 GB. 

WhisperTeach™ & CyberOptics™

WhisperTeach™ is patented hardware/software that automates the critical z-height measurement, which reduces set-up times by as much as 83%. More importantly, it improves yield and job performance compared to manual teaching methods. CyberOptics™ vision component auto measure delivers on-the-fly alignment to maximum device reliability and throughput.

Learn more about WhisperTeach™ auto Z-height teach system here

Add Capacity

Adding capacity is fairly straightforward. The first option is to add overtime and/or add shifts. BPM’s set-ups don’t require extensive training, so quality and throughput won’t decline after 5 pm. Next, add programming sites and sockets to existing workflows. If utilizing manual systems, additional programmers can be “daisy-chained” to a single workstation (up to 12 total). For automated programmers, additional sites may be added. Each site has the ability to add up to 4 additional sockets (a socket is the electrical interface of hardware/software to program a specific device). Adding sites can double, triple (up to 10X) capacity, depending on which system is used. BPM’s universal sites mean you don’t need two different site technologies for programming different classes of devices. BPM supports more than triple the number of devices as their nearest competitor (36K vs 12K). Some BPM systems, such as the low-cost 3901 or 8th Generation automated systems, can be upgraded for higher throughput, with more devices per hour and/or additional sites or peripherals. When you experience a line-down (for whatever reason), you need solutions that allow you to quickly shift production without skipping a beat. For programming devices, contact your nearest programming center, such as Arrow, Avnet, or A&J. The set-up files can be securely transmitted; if they don’t have the sockets, simply overnight the sockets used on your production. Utilizing programming centers is another way to balance out your work-flow; when a temporary need overwhelms your workflow, you can outsource for extra capacity.


It’s not a matter of “if” things go wrong. It’s a mathematical certainty. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s prudent to be ready for just about anything. With a little forward planning, you should keep production moving. BPM’s systems are built to grow with your business; they have programmers that are still operating daily after 15 years or more. Contact your preferred Programming Center and BPM Microsystems to develop a disaster plan in advance.

See “Market Forces” Article here

How to Program In-House, Part I

How to Program In-House, Part I

How to Program In-House, Part I

Everything starts with a device (probably more than just one). Actually, it starts with a “something” you sell that has one or more programmable devices. (We used to say that includes just about anything except a mattress, but there are lots of mattresses nowadays with advanced features). All examples are for instructional purposes only.

In our example, we’ve got two programmable devices on our board: a TSOP and a QFP programmable device. The TSOP has 1200 Kilobytes of data; the QFP has 1 Gigabyte (which makes in-line or on-board programming a bad option).

6 Ways to Program Devices (and Why Off-Line Programming may be an option)

Power Tip: If you are in the development stage of a project, use Device Search to see if there is already a programming solution for a device. At the development stage, you could possibly substitute a similar device that has support, saving time and money. New development can be expensive, so avoid it if possible

Device Semi House Code Qty/Year File Size Benchmark
QFP Renesas R5F100GXXX 1,200,000 1 Gigs ?
TSOP Renesas HN58VXXXX 1,200,000 1 MB ?

The next step is to use Device Search

Click on the Device Search link at the top of the BPM webpage. Search for the first device.

Click Search

One or more search results will be displayed. If no search results come up, try simplifying your search query. If that returns no results, you can request Device Support.

When you click the link, you’ll see the device parameters; towards the bottom are options for Automated Programmers, Manual Programmers, and sometimes Engineering Programmers (Engineering programmers are typically for older BPM programmers).

A good rule of thumb regarding when a programming project is a good candidate for Automated Programming is if quantities are in excess of 50,000 parts per year (there are some other things that could factor in, such as laser marking, 3D inspection, etc.). In our example, we will need about 3 million devices per year, so that makes Automated Programming a no-brainer.

The socket specific to your device will be listed in the left column, and are sorted by performance, with top-performing sockets towards the top. In our example, we’ll select FVE4ASMR48LQFPG

When you click on the top socket, you’ll get more specs on that socket. To get a quote, just click on the “Request for Quote” link.

Some of the fields will auto-fill; you will need to let us know the type of programmer you have (or which generation you are looking to get).

Once you know which socket is required to program your first device, you can also search to see if the socket is available for purchase on-line. Click on the “hour glass” symbol next to the “Get Quote” button in the Navigation Bar

Type in the search term and hit “enter”

If it’s available, and you are in North America, you can place your order with a credit card or purchase order.


Device Request

If your initial search for a socket doesn’t return a result, you can simplify your search query (that often works); if you still don’t get a “hit” don’t fret– use Device Request.

You’ll need a BPM Connect login. For more info on that, please view the video (below). If you like, you can skip ahead to about 5:30…

Device Search & Device Support Video

A short video on Device Search (beginning), How to order on-line (starts about 4:10), How to request Device Support (starts about 5:30)

Programming Devices— where no repairman has gone before

Programming Devices— where no repairman has gone before

How BPM’s device programmers master $100K antifuse FPGAs

The first few seconds are critical. There are a million things that have to go just right. If the rocket makes it to the second-stage burn, the engineers in mission control can begin to breathe again. For the payload specialists, the hard part is still hours, days, or even years to come. Where their satellite, probe, or manned mission is going, there are no service calls. Under the harshest conditions that are known to exist (extremes of heat/cold, g-forces, radiation, etc.) their payloads are expected to perform flawlessly well beyond what’s even realistic back on earth.

Whether it’s a sensor on an anti-lock brake assembly or a telemetry chip on a satellite, there are increasing numbers of programmed devices where failure isn’t an option; either it’s difficult or impossible to replace in the field, or failure means the potential loss of irreplaceable life and equipment (or both). When it comes to programming a mission-critical antifuse device, who is the only authorized vendor on which Microsemi relies? BPM Microsystems.

According to a Microsemi white paper, an antifuse-based FPGA is, “the most secure programmable device available.” Antifuse FPGAs are a one-time programmable non-volatile device that never uses a bitstream. Once programmed, it can’t be intercepted, copied, modified, or corrupted. They are also highly impervious to radiation (“Rad-Hard”). On the other hand, you’ve only got one shot to program the device, so it’s vital that it be programmed correctly.

Read More Here

Antifuse FPGAs have been around since the ‘90s, yet are still the most secure silicon devices available. From a practical perspective, antifuse devices are virtually impossible to reverse engineer. For instance, to determine the difference between programmed and unprogrammed fuses requires a scanning electron microscope, which when used, physically destroys the device in the process.

A single blank antifuse device can range in cost from a few thousand dollars to as much as $100,000! When a single device can cost as much as 50 times as much as the system that programs it, Microsemi has only licensed BPM to build their family of Silicon Sculptor programmers, now entering the 4th generation. The latest, the Silicon Sculptor 4 is built on the BPM 9th Generation site technology; 9th Gen programming sites are the most universal, most widely developed (35K+ devices and growing), fastest programming technology in the industry, and has been vetted by the most rigorous and demanding requirements in the business of programming. The underlying architecture was developed from the testing industry and is capable of generating the cleanest waveforms for the highest signal integrity, ensuring maximum trouble-free life in the field (even if that field is deep space).

When one chip costs more than some automated systems (such as BPM’s 3901 Automated Programming System) and there is no “second chance,” it has to be perfect the first time. The Silicon Sculptor 4 continues the tradition of delivering consistent quality devices to places where repair trucks can’t go.

Hardly anyone has the same quality requirements as antifuse devices. It is comforting to know the same attention to clean waveforms that Microsemi relies on is available to everyone. Anyone can benefit from the design criteria that are built into BPM’s 9th Gen family of programmers.  Signal quality, power supply design, and system self-check ensure the highest level of quality for you.